Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Award Season!!

Of course we all know that we are in the holiday season but we are also just starting the big awards season! Many organizations have already announced their top film and acting awards/nominees:

National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics, New York Film Critics, Golden Globe Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards have all been announced. There seems to be a few films that every group agrees on! Across the board, Man on Wire gets best documentary nods. This fascinating documentary follows the high wire walks of Philippe Petit, including his infamous walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. It is currently available on DVD in the HBPL Media center. Another, which is also now out on DVD and available at HBPL, is the Best Animated Film, Wall-E. For my money, Pixar makes the best animated films that are currently being released. This is no exception; a smart, funny, charming animated adventure of a lonely waste management robot. Who knew trash could be so loveable?

It seems that Josh Brolin is fated to be at the Oscars again this year. Although not nominated for his portrayal in No Country For Old Men, from all the accolades he has already received for his supporting actor role of Dan White in Milk, it would be a great surprise if an Oscar nomination didn’t come his way as well. And speaking of Milk, another actor whose performance is recognized by the critics is Sean Penn in Milk as Harvey Milk. From every group he is either their pick as best actor or in the nominated group.

The other films that seem to be getting multiple nominations are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire (an amazing film that should not be missed!) and Frost/Nixon. Of course, all will eventually be available on DVD and will make their way onto the shelves at HBPL.

In the new year I will write more on the films that are getting recognized. The award season culminates with the Oscars on February 22, 2009 (with Hugh Jackman as host…but that will be a post in itself!). But until then have a wonderful holiday season and I will be back in 2009!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Madness

Yes yes! Tis the season that we all go crazy. We are running around trying to make a fun and festive holiday for our friends and family. What a better way to relax than with a hot chocolate/toddy and a favorite movie. You would think that Christmas movies would be the first movies I would reach for this time of year. Of course, I have my favorites among the Christmas films but when I want to relax, my thoughts turn to Alan Rickman. Contemporary audiences know him as Snape in the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately, my favorite Rickman film, Truly, Madly, Deeply is hard to find and not in our media department. But we certainly have other Rickman fare to offer:

Galaxy Quest: It has been 17 years since the "Galaxy Quest'' TV series was canceled, and the actors' careers have been reduced to appearances at annual conventions. Alan Rickman plays a Spock-like character who hates the direction that his career has taken and his co-stars. Aliens show up after watching years of the series, thinking they have been watching historical documents. They want the intrepid crew of Galaxy Quest to help them defeat their enemies. So funny, so campy, so galactic!

Sense and Sensibility: Rickman in Austen! What a great combination. The screenplay for this version was written by Emma Thompson, who also stars in the film. Rickman plays the love struck Colonel Brandon who eventually ends up with the girl (Kate Winslet, no less)!

Harry Potters: Alan Rickman is superbly cast as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. The voice, the sneer, the hair! A decidedly misunderstood character! We who have read the entire Harry Potter series, know that Snape is somewhat redeemed in the final act. I can’t wait to see Rickman’s portrayal in the film version of the Deathly Hallows.

Bottle Shock: This delightful film was based on a true story and was just out in the theaters. Rickman plays a British wine connoisseur, owner of a wine shop in France. He sets up blind wine tasting in Paris, pitting California wines against the French ones. This 1976 event shocked the wine community when a small California vineyard was triumphant against the French. For those that missed this film in the theaters, it will be available on DVD in February (02/03/09).